Despite the dramatic reductions in children's blood lead levels (BLLs), there is considerable evidence that low-level lead exposure is associated with intellectual deficits and behavioral problems, without apparent threshold. There are limited data, however, about the contribution of residential sources of lead to contemporary children's blood lead levels. The aim of this study is to calculate the contributions of residential sources of lead to assess the potential impact of setting new standards for lead levels in residential dust, soil and water. We enrolled 484 French children aged from 6 months to 6 years, and collected data on social, housing and individual characteristics. Lead concentrations in blood and environmental samples (water, soils, and dusts) were measured using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Data were analyzed using a multivariate generalized additive model accounting for the sampling design and the sampling weights. We found that exceedingly low concentrations of lead in dust, soil and water were significant predictors of children's BLLs, after adjustment for potential confounding variables. Lead-contaminated floor dust was the main source of lead in blood. BLLs (GM: 14 Œg/L) increased by 65%, 13%, 25%, and 5% when lead content in floor dust, loose soil, hard soil and water increased from their 25th percentile to their 95th percentile, respectively. We also observed that the steepest increase in BLLs occurred at the lowest levels of lead-contaminated floor dust, which indicates that lead contamination should be kept as low as possible. Impact of different possible standards on children's BLLs was also tabulated and indicated that unless standards are set low, they will only benefit a small proportion of children who have the highest exposures.
Auteur : Oulhote Y, Le Tertre A, Etchevers A, Le Bot B, Lucas JP, Mandin C, Le Strat Y, Lanphear B, Glorennec P
International journal of hygiene and environmental health, 2013, n°. 6, p. 743-50